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February 2017

 

 

 

 

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Background Image: Looking down into a wintering hive

 

Monday February 20th, 2017

Environment Canada forecast
Ten day forecast
Sunrise, Sunset, and Moon Times

Today Sunny early this morning then a mix of sun and cloud with 30 percent chance of flurries this afternoon. Fog patches dissipating this morning. High plus 3.
Tonight Mainly cloudy with 30 percent chance of flurries. Fog patches developing overnight. Low minus 4.

Today, I study.  I awoke early and got down to it.  I can see that the upcoming instructor clinic is going to be hard slogging.  I have this week in which to prepare for the Friday night session, followed by two full days on the water and in a classroom.

Not only does a candidate need to know how to sail and navigate, but an instructor candidate has to fit into a bureaucracy, and that means learning jargon, standards, procedures and more.  To complicate matters, much of these are ignored in practice, but the initiate has no idea which are observed and which are ignored. 

I requested material in advance and was emailed several batches of files of varying sizes with uninformative names, many of which turned out to be duplicates, and no indication in what order to read them or their relative importance.

So, I plan to spend the day getting on top of this.  I spent two hours trying to get my new printer to print 28 pages front and back without feeding several at a time, then gave up and did thme one by one.  Grrr.

Then I started sorting through the material for my coming classes.  It had arrived over two months in batches attached to emails that arrived at awkward times and the files have file names that are next to meaningless. Moreover there are duplicates and zip files.  That took me the rest of the day and I did very little learning.

After lunch Carolyn came over  for a few minutes and then a beekeeper came for some floors and lids.  We drove out to the hives to take a look and the 4X4 quit dead halfway there.  Different problem this time.  The glow plugs and fuel pump ran.  I left it sitting there and checked back later.  No luck.  The engine just would not start.

I got back to work and accomplished little more than juggling files.  I was feeling rough, so did the one-mile walk with Zippy.  Zippy is not zippy anymore.  Where once she ran ahead and back and forth, now she follows me 

I had supper, watched an episode of No Tomorrow and went to bed early.

I correct, revise and augment entries in the previous several days first thing each day before writing new diary entries.  Read yesterday's post

A cult is a religion with no political power.
Tom Wolfe

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Tuesday February 21st, 2017

Today Mainly cloudy with 30 percent chance of flurries. Fog patches dissipating near noon. High plus 2.
Tonight Mainly cloudy with 60 percent chance of flurries. Low minus 4

Environment Canada forecast
Ten day forecast
Sunrise, Sunset, and Moon Times

I slept poorly and got up early to continue my studies. 

At ten I checked in for my flight and spoke with Ruth.  We'll meet in Drum at three to do the Zippy handover.

I spent the morning shuffling files and managed some actual studying.  I shared my assembled files and folders with the student group via Dropbox and at just about the same second got an email that another student had been going through the same agony and had published on Google Groups!  Funny!  Great minds think alike. (They say, though, that fools seldom differ.)

I was feeling groggy from all the sitting so after lunch Zip and I did the one-mile walk again today. She definitely is getting old.  I have to admire her though for traipsing through frozen puddles and muddy field.

At three, I drove her to Drum and met up with Ruth at Tim Horton's'.  Zip was not eager to get out of the car, but she did and got into Ruth's van.  I bought a few grocery items and drove home.

I noticed that the store has less stock than previously and more open floor space.  I'm guessing times are hard, after the layoffs in the oil fields and the introduction of a carbon tax.  The layoffs were bad enough, but the carbon tax further cripples a n industry that is central to the Province and also burdens people with reduced incomes.

There are three grocery stores in town and competition is fierce. I'm afraid we may lose one, and this is the one I like best.

I returned home and resumed my studies. 

It is years since I studied anything for examination purposes and it is an interesting experience.  Cramming, because that is what it is, demands a special state of mind, and one where a person can learn and regurgitate material that was sometimes wrong and sometimes seems to have been written by a less experienced sailor.

I'm still not feeling tip top. I drank some red wine the other night and it seems to have affected me and I slept badly.  I'm also a bit stressed about various things, and the difficulty sorting out the lesson material for this course.

This little Acer, my most portable laptop, has been throwing up BSODs fairly often since January.  The computer freezes, says it is collecting data to send to the mothership to find a fix will restart shortly, but it has not yet. I always have had to do a hard reset and before it would boot up.

Of course I lost any unsaved work each time it surprised me, but having lived with Windows ever since Windows 3.0, back before Windows was really a program running on MSDOS not a real operating system, then through Millennium and Vista, freezes and crashes are not new to me and I learned early to save often. 

The BSOD cost me my ongoing work a few times, but never enough to cause weeping and wailing and I went looking for a cause a few times, but of course M$ help was no help beyond suggesting that maybe a driver was the cause.

Then, I noticed that the Windows automatic update routine has been repeatedly trying to install a driver update for my 21" monitor and that it failed over and over with no explanation. (The monitor works just fine.)

Looking at the Reliability History, it seemed possible this could be it so I hid that update to stop the repeating failures.  Since then, touch wood, (says he, saving the current paragraph as a precaution) peace has prevailed.  Maybe that was it.

Back to the studying and then early to bed again.  I have to be up at three and out by seven and I have not yet packed.

I set the alarms for three and went to bed.  I don't really need an alarm; I wake up as I set my mind, but I'm a belt and suspenders kind of guy.  Besides my mind has not been as reliable as sometimes lately and I sleep better knowing I have two alarms set.

I correct, revise and augment entries in the previous several days first thing each day before writing new diary entries.  Read yesterday's post

To suppose as we all suppose, that we could be rich and not behave as the rich behave
is like supposing we could drink all day and stay sober.
Logan Pearsall Smith

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Wednesday February 22nd, 2017

Environment Canada forecast
Ten day forecast
Sunrise, Sunset, and Moon Times

My mind was set for three, but I woke up at two. Seems I an stuck between time zones, having gone from Mountain to Pacific to Mountain to Eastern to Atlantic to Eastern and back to Mountain in the course of weeks. And later today, back to Pacific.

I was sleepy, but have found that dozing a while before getting up works well for me.  It gives me time to get back to Earth. 

I had been having some interesting dreams. In one, I was smoking and my sailboat, Carpe Diem, was anchored off 1207.  It was late in the day, but John and I were considering going sailing.  I was concerned to find myself smoking since my health insurance stipulates that I have not smoked for five years and doing so would break that agreement.  Not only was i smoking, but people saw me doing it. (I have not smoked even one cigarette for five years now. The idea has no appeal and I wonder now why it ever did).

Anyhow, by two-thirty I was awake and found myself focusing and searching my motives.  I was wondering why my mind was seemingly balking and failing to capture information I am reading.

I had noticed flashes of full-on memory yesterday, but also a reluctance to focus and record. I was aware of a slight a sense of disbelief and a sort of contrariness, and that seemed to be holding me back.  It was as if part of me did not want to learn and was inhibiting my focus. Why?

At times in my life, I have had an eidetic memory, but, reading this course, I observe my mind is in revolt and refusing to record what I read. The fact that some of the info is questionable does not help, but I should at least be able to remember it.  I fell into self-examination.

It is an interesting question why I find myself pulling my punches, and I can see the reasons but I won't get into that now because it is 0400 and I have lots to do before my must-leave-by departure time of 0730.  I have to do wash, pack, tidy, and, yes, vacuum.  Carolyn has been mentioning the litter.  Leaves drop and it looks bad after a while.  I did some the day of my supper, but people arrived early and I did not finish.  I must do a spring cleaning soon, too.

I emerged from my reverie at 0258 and got up, refreshed, and dressed.  My internal clock is working and my mental garbage collection is functioning, too.  This challenge is forcing me to align my thinking and deal with myself.  Last year, the island circumnavigation had the same effect, but frankly, it was not as deeply and fundamentally challenging.  It was merely an ordeal, not a challenge to my mind, self image and integrity.

Breakfast is over -- coffee and an omelet, and this little task is done.  Now to take on the day.  By sundown, God willin' and the cricks don't rise, I'll be in a different world.

I packed and left for YYC.  Around eleven, I landed at YVR, walked to the Skytrain, rode to the Village Station, caught the number 50 bus and was on Cassiopeia by noon.

I spent the afternoon reading and getting settled, then attended an instructors meeting at six. 

From there, I went to the Improv, but it was awful and I left at intermission.  The fact that I seem to be going deaf did not help.

I correct, revise and augment entries in the previous several days first thing each day before writing new diary entries.  Read yesterday's post

Time spent on any item of the agenda will be in inverse proportion to the sum involved
.C. Northcote Parkinson

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Thursday February 23rd, 2017

Today Increasing cloudiness early this morning. 30 percent chance of flurries this morning. Fog patches this morning. High zero.
Tonight Partly cloudy. Becoming cloudy before morning then periods of snow. Low minus 11.

Environment Canada forecast
Ten day forecast
Sunrise, Sunset, and Moon Times

I woke up early, made coffee and oatmeal and got to work catching up.  I plan to read today and would like to spend some time on a Martin 244 this afternoon.

I read off and on all day, but am not running on all three cylinders.  Maybe it is the travel, maybe it is the upcoming course, but my mind is off-kilter and not absorbing.

Antoine wrote that he could go sailing with me, so I put off my 244 trial until he was able to show up at four. We took a boat out and raised sail, tacked, and hove to for practice.  I think I can handle this boat just fine.

I returned, went to the Market and ate pizza, then had two glasses of white wine, neither of which are on my ideal diet, but felt right. I am not about to get into a fight with myself right now.  I know better because I always lose.

I had intended to read more, but knew I was not learning and figured to have a nap first.  I lay down and next thing I knew, it was tomorrow.

I correct, revise and augment entries in the previous several days first thing each day before writing new diary entries.  Read yesterday's post

Time spent on any item of the agenda will be in inverse proportion to the sum involved
.C. Northcote Parkinson

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Friday February 24th, 2017

Today Becoming cloudy this morning with a few flurries. Fog patches this morning. Wind becoming north 20 km/h near noon. High minus 3.
Tonight Cloudy with 30 percent chance of flurries this evening and after midnight then partly cloudy. Wind north 20 km/h becoming light this evening. Low minus 16.

Environment Canada forecast
Ten day forecast
Sunrise, Sunset, and Moon Times

I had figured that I'd wake up after an hour or two, or at midnight, and work for a few hours, but when I got up, it was six AM.  Wonderful! I slept almost ten hours.  That is what the doctor ordered.

I checked the furnace at home, did some tidying, seeing as I'll have two instructor candidates sleeping onboard tonight, and got down to studying.

I check the furnace morning and night now.  I have a reminder on my phone and it is easy to check the cameras since I have reliable Internet all the time here, unlike in the Caribbean.

I had become  somewhat slack checking the cameras over time since it seemed that my neighbour was on the job and nothing ever went wrong, but I got a wakeup when I did a random check recently and found the auger bare.  It turned out the fire had gone out and that takes a day or so to happen. 

By the time the fire goes out, the heat has been off for ten hours or more which is not a big problem during sunny days normally, but could kill plants if it happens at night and freeze pipes if it is really cold out.

Checking every twelve hours should be fine since it takes at least twelve hours for the fire to go out after the auger goes bare from lack of coal, and more like twenty-four, so odds are almost 100% I'd catch a problem before it reached that point with this schedule.

I read all morning and walked uptown for groceries in the afternoon, then a bit further up the hill on Granville to the wine store (I bought white, not red) and back to the boat. 

A while later Gord and Richard showed up.  We looked at the 244 together and went back to the boat for a while.  Then it was time for our lessons at six.  We are here to qualify as sailing instructors.

We boarded Calinda, the six of us and the two instructors were introduced, and then we wrote the Basic exam.  A full pass was 90%, with a secondary pass with reduced privileges at 70%.  I scored 97-1/2%, having missed a part of one question and having misunderstood an ambiguous diagram in another. 

Oh, well.  I was happy just to pass and the paper I marked received an 83.  I don't know how the others did.  Anyone unsatisfied can re-write in two weeks.

Following that, we listened to talks and had discussions on teaching methods and the meeting broke up shortly after ten.

Richard, Gord and I returned to Cassiopeia, had a glass of wine and called it a day.

I correct, revise and augment entries in the previous several days first thing each day before writing new diary entries.  Read yesterday's post

Time spent on any item of the agenda will be in inverse proportion to the sum involved
.C. Northcote Parkinson

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Saturday February 25th, 2017

Today Mainly cloudy with 30 percent chance of flurries. High minus 4.
Tonight Cloudy. Periods of light snow beginning early this evening. Low minus 10.

Environment Canada forecast
Ten day forecast
Sunrise, Sunset, and Moon Times

Today is day two of the course.  We begin this morning with sailing tests on the water.  Each of us has to demonstrate sailing skills and crew management on a Martin 244.

I have four lesson plans to write before we meet at nine this morning.

We went out and drifted around in English Bay, but finally did manage to get enough wind to do some sailing. We then went in and did some classroom work.  It was all over at five.  I went back to Cassiopeia and slept.

I'm not sure that I should have signed up for this course.  Too much confusion and BS.  The entire programme is in flux and the instructions have been confusing from the start.

I correct, revise and augment entries in the previous several days first thing each day before writing new diary entries.  Read yesterday's post

Government is the great fiction, through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.
Frederic Bastiat

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Sunday February 26th, 2017

Today Mainly cloudy with 60 percent chance of flurries. Wind north 20 km/h gusting to 40. Temperature falling to minus 13 this afternoon.
Tonight Clearing this evening. Low minus 20.

Environment Canada forecast
Ten day forecast
Sunrise, Sunset, and Moon Times

Today is day three of the course.  We had some snow and rain overnight, but the forecast calls for clearing and moderate winds this morning.

By nine, the weather was beautiful and we had a bit of wind as well, ideal for the sailing portion of the course.  We met on Calinda and watched presentations, then went to the dock and candidates made several more.  We then motored out into English Bay.

The wind died but we persevered and did our exercises.  As we did, the wind picked up and by the time we went back in, the breeze was sufficient to move us along well.

We returned to Calinda and spent the afternoon on lessons and information sessions. At the end, we wrote a Colregs practice exam. 

While we were doing the test, the instructors set out to refill the water tanks.  Halfway through, there was shouting to turn off the water.  Apparently black water was rising up in the shower drain and overflowing.  Seems they were filling the waste tank, not a water tank. It was labeled water, I'm told.

Then the instructors debriefed everyone in a short interview.  I went last since we had overstayed our time and all the others had to run to get home and back to real life.  I am living a hundred yards away.

They asked me for comment.  I told them they were great. They did not need to hear my real opinion.  They had been working hard for three days and just flooded a million dollar boat.  They need strokes, not blows.   I'll save my many criticisms until a time when they are constructive or keep them to myself.  I'll share here, though.  It won't get spread around as it seems few ever read this anymore.

The course was confused, confusing, and disorganized, with impossible expectations of the instructors, students and weather.  It was far too ambitious and unfocused IMO. 

What should have been advance work was assigned in an ambiguous and confusing fashion without clear step by step instructions.  We were given a ream of files with names that did not indicate their hierarchy.

Everything was CIPU.  What is CIPU?  Didn't you know?  Howcum?  Obviously (to me) it means Clear If Previously Understood.

Most of this course could and should have been done by correspondence, and the clinic used for the skills assessment and coaching only. IMO, anyhow.

Going further with my observations, I can see that the old CYA teaching philosophy apparently carried through to Sail Canada.  That philosophy demands that every presentation be criticized regardless of its excellence, or the circumstances.

That approach is contrary to my philosophy which is to reinforce success and ignore failures, the exception being situations where something is clearly dangerous or in error.  Incompletely understood objectives are simply re-taught with a different slant. My teaching philosophy comes partly from my ski instructor training, but also from years of managing staff and observing my own supervisors on occasions when I was employed. 

The best instructors I have observed deal with only one objective at a time and make a point of acknowledging and praising success.

Nobody likes to be criticized, and many become discouraged, but everyone likes to hear about things they did well.  Criticizing is sometimes inescapable, but even when meant constructively it tends to destroy enthusiasm and shut people down.  Most people will remember positive feedback, repeat the behaviour that was acknowledged and look for ways to make it even better, but develop a dislike for people who criticize them or their efforts even if the criticism is deserved.

I correct, revise and augment entries in the previous several days first thing each day before writing new diary entries.  Read yesterday's post

The proper role of a healthily functioning economy is to destroy jobs and put labor to use elsewhere.
Joseph Schumpeter

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Monday February 27th, 2017

Today A mix of sun and cloud. Wind southeast 20 km/h. High minus 8.
Tonight Partly cloudy with 30 percent chance of flurries. Low minus 18.

Environment Canada forecast
Ten day forecast
Sunrise, Sunset, and Moon Times

I have five days until the next session.  What will I do during that time?

Around 1500, I cast off for Bowen Island.  The wind and tide were against me and it took three hours to cover the twenty miles.  I motored the last bit and tied up just before dark at A12 on the Union Steamship Marina dock for the night, then wandered up to Doc Morgan's for supper.

I correct, revise and augment entries in the previous several days first thing each day before writing new diary entries.  Read yesterday's post

Anyone who isn't confused, clearly doesn't understand the situation.
Edward R. Murrow

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Tuesday February 28th, 2017

Today Mainly cloudy with 30 percent chance of flurries this morning. Clearing this afternoon. High minus 7.
Tonight Clear. Becoming partly cloudy after midnight. Low minus 14.

Environment Canada forecast
Ten day forecast
Sunrise, Sunset, and Moon Times

I'm in Snug Cove and staying for the day.  I studied and walked up the hill for groceries.

I am feeling burned out.

I correct, revise and augment entries in the previous several days first thing each day before writing new diary entries.  Read yesterday's post

A good scientist knows that science is not a democracy, that scientific truth is not determined
 by a show of hands, and that consensus and authority are there to be challenged,
 not to be accepted without question.
Dr. Frank Schnell, PhD.

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